How to Use Foursquare to Help Grow Your Small Business

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When it comes to social media, most small businesses understand some of the more dominant sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. However, there are tons of smaller, yet still popular social media networks available to businesses. While it is never good to spread your content too thin across a bunch of different networks, there are a few social media sites that are worth the effort. One of my favorite networks and a network that I find brings in a lot of business is Foursquare.

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For those who are unfamiliar, Foursquare is a social network that allows people to “check in” to different places that they visit. This is most popular with restaurants or nightclubs, but more and more companies have started to step onto the scene. Users have the ability to connect with their friends, leave comments about places their friends have visited, and even post these updates to their other social networks. One of the best features of Foursquare is its ability to recommend places/businesses to a user based upon where they “checked into” in the past. These features can help your business for several reasons:

  • It is another platform where you can connect with potential customers.
  • If users visited a business similar to yours and then yours was recommended to them, you have a great chance that someone really interested in your line of work will walk through your doors. In other words, the site really zones in on a target audience.
  • It allows you to offer specials; thus keeping your current customers up to date and loyal.
  • The site offers statistics that will allow you to track the types of customers the site is bringing in to your company.

Although many businesses claim to be “social media’ed out,” many who are starting a business find that foursquare is actually a lot of fun. Below explains how you can get started with Foursquare to help grow your business:

How to Get Started with Foursquare

Step #1: Create a Foursquare account for your business.

As with any social network, you have to sign up and fill out all the necessary information. You can either connect the account with your Facebook or sign up by adding in your email address, password, and then upload a profile photo. This will get you into the network.

Step #2: Claim your business.

Foursquare is interesting because users can create a location for a business before the business is even a part of the network.  For this reason, you must go to the search bar at the top of the page and type in your business. Once you find the business, you will hit “Claim Venue” and then begin a verification process. You will need to provide your business’s email address and phone number so that Foursquare can contact you and verify that you are a part of the business. Foursquare will also create the account for you (whether you have claimed a business or need to start from scratch).

Step #3: Consider giving away a deal to Foursquare users.

Foursquare will give you the option to use what is called the “Merchant Platform.” This allows you to give away a free item or a special deal to users. The service will also keep track of the more frequent customers and less frequent customers and pick deals accordingly. Finally, a special badge will show up on a user’s phone if they are near your business and you have a deal; thus further enticing customers to “check in” to your business.

Step #4: Check out the analytics that Foursquare offers small businesses.

I find this to be one of the best features of Foursquare. The site offers you free analytics about who is checking into your business. This includes the demographics as well as the users who are sharing their check-ins via their other, more popular social media accounts. This can help a business analyze their marketing strategies to make sure that they are focusing on the right target audience.

Step #5: Consider adding a tip to your brand page.

The network gives businesses the ability to leave tips about their business. This way, when a user checks into your business, they will have a little note from you letting them know what you think is important. For example, if you own a restaurant, you may want to let someone know that they can order half a burger if they prefer. If you own an advertising agency, you might let users know that you offer free donuts on Monday mornings.

Incorporating social media into a small business marketing campaign is becoming extremely important. Although it may seem that Facebook and Twitter are the only networks worth your while, Foursquare is growing at a rapid pace. According to Sprout Insights, there are over 10 million users on Foursquare with users checking in to businesses more than 3 million times per day. In other words, if you’re looking to get ahead of the social media curve, Foursquare just might be the next Twitter or Facebook.

Photo Credit: vator.tv

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to phone systems. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including small business loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.

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